Now that September is here, kids across the United States are heading back to school (if they haven’t done so already). This can be a stressful transition even under the best circumstances. But in families that have recently experienced a divorce and/or child custody dispute, back-to-school time is likely to be especially fraught.
If you’ve recently been through a family law dispute, you are probably worried about the coming school year. Thankfully, many parents have already stood where you are standing and there is no shortage of good advice to make back-to-school time as smooth as it can be. And this advice can be easily tailored to reflect your unique custody situation.
Many child custody agreements call for co-parents to share child-related expenses. Because the beginning of a school year is usually quite expensive, you may want to split costs and shopping duties with your ex. One of you can buy school supplies while the other pays for new clothes, for example.
You will also likely need an organizational system to make sure that your kids have what they need and know what they need to know regardless of which parent has custody at any given time. Ideas include:
- Setting up a shared online calendar (Google Calendar, for example) with dates of important school events, sports practices and other scheduling information throughout the year
- Requesting a second set of textbooks to be kept at one parent’s house so that children have less to carry each day (sometimes possible, but not always)
- Arranging regular check-ins between you and your co-parent to discuss homework, projects and other details (these can occur via email, text, on the phone or in person)
Hopefully, these ideas have already started to alleviate some back-to-school anxiety you may be facing. Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.